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Letter to House Ways and Means Committee on the Educator Tax Relief Act of 2015 (H.R. 2940)

September 16, 2015

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association (NEA) and the students they serve, we urge you to support the Educator Tax Relief Act of 2015 (H.R. 2940) during tomorrow’s markup. Sponsored by Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Bob Dold (R-IL), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Rodney Davis (R-IL), and David Valadao (R-CA), this bipartisan bill would make the $250 educator tax deduction permanent, index it to inflation, and allow educators to deduct out-of-pocket expenditures for professional development as well as classroom materials and supplies.

Virtually all educators spend their own money on materials and supplies for their students. According to the National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA), during the 2012-13 school year 99.5 percent of public school teachers dipped into their own pockets to help meet their students’ needs; collectively, they spent $1.6 billion on basic supplies such as pencils, glue, scissors, and facial tissues. Out-of-pocket expenditures averaged $485 nationwide and 10 percent spent $1,000 or more—double the percentage previously reported. 

Even when they must sacrifice their own personal needs to cover the cost of materials and supplies, educators do so to ensure their students have what they need to succeed. Ongoing professional development is important for the same reason—it keeps educators’ skills and knowledge up to date so they can prepare their students to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world.  

Millions of educators who just started back to school spent money from their own pockets to make sure their classrooms were ready and their students had what they need. For the sake of the students of today, our nation’s leaders of tomorrow, we urge you to support H.R. 2940.  

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations